I get so stressed about cooking for guests. Preparations usually involve scouring the internet, revisiting my starred recipes in my Google Reader and multiple calls to Giz. I finally had to stop the madness, stop calling my mother, stop stressing and just pick something. An anxiety-filled decision making process isn't a prerequisite to making a good meal. In fact, it's often the simple dishes that are the best tasting.
This certainly is the case in this situation. This Taco Soup made for a delicious and filling lunch. The recipe come from Pam at For the Love of Cooking. One of my "go to" blogs for great recipes, I've blogged about Pam's dishes before here, here and here.
1 tsp of cumin
1 tsp of oregano
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of paprika
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of onion powder
1 tsp of coriander
Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 lb of lean ground beef
1/2 sweet yellow onion, diced
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1 can of pinto beans, rinsed and drained (I used navy beans)
1 can of kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup of frozen corn (I used canned corn)
2 cans of diced tomatoes
1 4.5 oz can of diced green chilies
1/2 oz of package of ranch salad dressing mix (half a packet) (I couldn't find this, so excluded it)
Heat a Dutch oven over medium heat then add the ground beef. Add all the taco seasonings and mix into the ground beef, making sure to break it up into crumbles. Add the diced onion and garlic then mix thoroughly and cook for 4-5 minutes.
Add the beans, corn, tomatoes, green chilies and ranch dressing packet, mix well then cover and simmer on low for 2 hours, stir occasionally. Taste and re-season with sea salt or pepper if needed.
Corn tortilla strips (directions below)
Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
Green onions, diced
While the soup is simmering. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Cut a few corn tortillas into strips. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray then place the tortilla strips on it and spray them with cooking spray and season with sea salt. Bake in the oven for 5-7 minutes or until golden brown.
Ladle the soup into bowls then top with corn tortilla strips, soup cream, cheddar cheese and green onions.
I took the opportunity to use some new plates that R brought home from Mexico for this meal.
The bread come from Art-is-in Bakery, some of the best bread in Ottawa.
My guest brought dessert and I also served strawberries. I was just looking for an excuse to use my strawberry bowl (yes, it's an actual bowl for strawberries). You can wash and serve them in the one dish.